House Democrats walk out of chamber over treatment
By World Capitol Bureau
4/10/2008 11:45 AMLast Modified: 4/10/2008 1:17 PM
From Wayne Greene's Blog: "We've reached the comic opera stage of the legislative session."
OKLAHOMA CITY - House Democrats walked out of the chamber Thursday morning, angry about their treatment in committee meetings where they have not been allowed to ask questions.
The protest follows Wednesday's refusal by Rep. Ron Peterson, R-Broken Arrow, to allow Democratic members to question why Peterson's committee would not allow parents to speak in a public meeting on an amendment to extend insurance coverage to children with autism.A week ago, Cherokee Chief Chad Smith also was not allowed to speak in a committee meeting where an "English-only" bill was being discussed.
Rep. Chuck Hoskin, head of the House Democratic caucus, said it was bad enough that members of the public were not allowed to speak, but elected representatives also are being denied the right to ask questions in committee and on the floor.Thursday morning, Rep. James Covey, D-Custer City, asked to be recognized on the House floor because he wanted to speak with House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, about how committee meetings are being conducted. But he was not recognized."That was the straw that broke the camel's back," Rep. Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa.House Minority Leader Danny Morgan, D-Prague, huddled with Benge and others in the speaker's office. Morgan said Benge agreed to review committee rules and will have an answer on Monday.